by Kathryn Magura
Hi, my name is Kathryn, and I believe college students should be treated like customers. Yes, I have a Masters degree in Higher Education Administration, and yes I am aware of the developmental changes college students are going through as they matriculate through their college experiences. That said, I believe that more students (and their families) see the higher education process as a business, and therefore have more demands on those who serve them at institutions of higher education.
If you haven’t given up on this post yet, let me explain. I have strict standards regarding customer service. Each customer brings their unique perspective and needs to the interaction, and it is my job as someone serving them to be aware of this, and treat each customer with the respect and dignity they deserve. From my perspective, college students are paying an exorbitant amount of money to attend my University, and deserve to be treated with the dignity of someone who has chosen my services over my competitors. Furthermore, if students do not like the services I am providing, or the ways in which they are treated as my customer, they will take their business elsewhere.
If you have read my bio on the blog, you know that I have a passion for finding ways to use technology as a way to enhance the customer service experience for college students. I am fortunate to work at a University that facilitates this passion by allowing me to try new ways to serve customers. I have been part of a team that created an open source housing software management system, developed systems to allow new students to select their own rooms, and found ways to use iPads for room inspections. I thrive in an environment where the needs of students outweigh the desires of those who serve them. It is my responsibility as an educator to ensure that my customers are cared for, even if they are 18 year old students fresh out of high school.
The point I am trying to make here is that it should not serve in conflict with Student Development Theory to treat students like customers. Students have a multitude of universities to choose from, and treating them like customers may just make the difference that helps them choose your university over another.